Houston’s Long-Awaited Rothko Chapel Expansion Breaks Ground

A $42 million project that will add new buildings, landscaping, and accessibility to the site of the iconic Rothko Chapel recently broke ground in Houston, Texas.

Over the next two years, the site will see construction of an administration and archives building, a new program center, a guest bungalow for visiting speakers and fellows, a plaza for events, as well as a meditation garden named after Kathleen and Chuck Mullenweg. Work onsite began April 17.

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These additions, expected to be completed by 2026, follow a $30 million renovation completed in 2021.

“The Chapel has never had the room that we need to fulfill our dual mission,” executive director David Leslie said in a statement. “The Opening Spaces project is not only about creating spaces that enable us to welcome more visitors, but also facilitating more enriching experiences of the art, deeper contemplation, and the social justice-focused community engagement embedded in our founders’ vision, which brings people together in dialogue and reflection across the many boundaries that separate us.”

Collectors John and Dominique de Menil commissioned Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko for the project in 1964. The original construction on the site and the laborious process to create the 14 large murals took seven years, “a procession of architects,” and a large crane to lower the momentous murals into the building. Rothko did not live to see his vision completed on February 26, 1971; he committed suicide in his Manhattan studio almost exactly one year prior.

More than 50 years later, Rothko’s vision remains a strong draw for art fans, the chapel’s website reporting that more than 100,000 people visit each year.

Source: artnews.com

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